After three trips, I have learned 7 important life lessons Scotland teaches. I only have to put them in practice at home, as well. I cringe at myself for complaining about the rain, when in Scotland I find it part of its charm and have stopped obsessing about it. I could drink tea as if I was a camel heading to desert for a couple of months, while at home I can’t open my eyes without coffee. Everything is better fried, why do I then stick to steamed, … Haven’t I learned?
Number 1 Life Lesson Scotland starts with
‘I hope it doesn’t rain,’ said a colleague when I mentioned heading on a trip.
She was met with silence on my side. I was so taken aback with her statement, I couldn’t find an appropriate response. No rain in Scotland, I thought?
‘Well, there so no chance it won’t rain,’ I finally manage to say. It might have sounded a bit condescending.
I didn’t mean it. But Scotland without rain? It’s like scones without sultanas. I actually don’t like them, but without them it’s plain bread.
Rain is part of Scottish charm. That’s what it’s all about. Moody weather.
I get it. We too go on trips and hope it doesn’t rain. When we go to Spain. I’d be pissed if it rained in Cordoba. The first time we visited Scotland, I was bothered by the amount of rain, because Ireland a year ago was all sunshine 7 days straight. But that was an anomaly, which a week in Scotland managed to rectify.
Rain is a great teacher. When you are ready to listen, it tells you to:
Stop obsessing with things you can’t change
Will it rain? Yes.
When? Who knows.
Either way, there is nothing I can do about it, except walk in my wellies and wear a rain coat. Don’t even mess with the umbrella.
Seize the moment
When we followed a path from our car to the beach, I looked up at the brilliant sun and only a few fluffy clouds marring the blue sky. How much time do we have? I wondered as we threw the blanket on the white pebbled beach and the kids scattered their plethora of toys all the way to the sea.
The sea too looked inviting. Enough for us to roll our pants up to the knees and waddle inside, holding our breathes as the cold seeped through.
It hit me. If I enjoy this second, not worry about what comes after, but am present – feel the sun rays, feel the sea, listen to my kids squealing with joy, hold hubby’s hand, then it doesn’t matter.
If you learn one thing in Scotland is to seize the moment.
You see something you like, stop and enjoy it, now, because the rain, the tide, the wind something might come in the next second and it will be gone.
Don’t focus on the negative
I could be bothered with rain. I was bothered with rain.
Last year we were driving when there was a downpour. We were in a car but suddenly the trip – to the beach – made no sense at all. I was all: ‘Stupid rain, and I actually like you!’ As if I was a jilted lover.
The kids were restless in the back and the mood was suddenly gloomy, you couldn’t tell where the outside ended and the inside began. Then we spotted a cafe next to the road. We pulled over and rushed in, to be greeted with the smell of warm soup and freshly baked scones.
The rain from then on, was a perfect excuse to indulge in tea and baked delicacies.
I stopped focusing on why rain sucked and rather focused on the good side.
Non rain related lessons
Enough with the rain. Let’s continue talking about food.
Eat Breakfast All Day
If your favorite meal is by any chance breakfast (mine is), then in Scotland you will learn a take-it-with-you-home lesson. In most places – the Scottish breakfast is served all day. Yes, you read it right. All day.
That means you can have and should have breakfast for lunch.
We stopped at a small village pub at around 1 in the afternoon. I scanned the menu and imagine my (silent) screams of excitement when I saw I could have breakfast for lunch.
I was only too happy to order: a plate of scrambled eggs, black pudding, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, baked beans and tomatoes, accompanied with slices of toast and a pot of tea. I risked a heart attack right on the spot, but it was worth it.
Having had breakfast for lunch once, I am never ever going back to sticking with scrambled eggs only in the mornings.
Fried is always better
When in Rome, the saying starts. It also goes for when in Scotland, do as the Scottish do.
Drink tea. If you like hubby don’t like black tea, be sure to order: ‘Fruit tea.’ Don’t just say a pot of tea, please.
Eat fish and chips – our kids love it. They hate fish but that isn’t about the fish, right. It just shows how fired is always better. Inspired by this, we served them fried mushrooms a few days ago – they loved it. And you, guessed it, they hate mushrooms.
Who cares about cholesterol, heart attack and all that, when fried just tastes better.
Nature is Magnificent
We live in a city. My dealings with nature are reduced to weekends, or looking up at the sky while walking to work, wondering if I need an umbrella.
But Scotland, though it has two great cities Edinburgh and Glasgow and a lot of smaller ones and lovely villages is 90 % Nature.
And wow, does this Nature take your breath away. I forgot I was literate when I stood in the misty Glen Coe. There were no words coming out of my mouth, just sounds until I was silent. Not bothering. Just taking it all in.
How lucky we are to live on such a diverse and beautiful planet. Standing and observing nature at its most magnificent, always makes me ask myself – why do you worry. Aren’t all my worries so meaningless.
A week in the wilderness of Scotland for me is the equivalent of an intense class of meditation, with no pressure.
Realizing what counts
Finally, my favorite lesson Scotland taught me was I don’t need much. I don’t need museums, though there are plenty of those there. I don’t need expensive dinners. I don’t need sun blasting. I don’t need two suitcases full of clothes…
I need my family. I need tea and biscuits. And I need vast soggy moors that invite us to explore. And white sand beaches that seem to belong in the Caribbean. I need days to be long, but with no schedules and plans. I need to touch the water, feel the wind, hear the pebbles crunch beneath my feet and my daughters’ laughter when they run towards the sea…
Not much, you wonder after my whole tirade? Hm, you are right, that is quite a list. Maybe Scotland ruined me for any other place. Or has it made me realize what is truly important? Without my family not even magnificent Scotland works.